Candlelight vigil brings together families, school officials and faith leaders

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Community members attending the candlelight vigil at Reynolds High School Tuesday night hold their candles up in remembrance of the two students who died violently within the gym nearby.

More than 2,000 people filled the practice field of Reynolds High School Tuesday night, pinning green ribbons to their jackets and lighting up the dark June sky with hundreds of candles.

Soccer teammates released dozens of balloons with the number 29 in memory of Emilio Hoffman.

The 14-year-old freshman was killed June 10 within the gymnasium building, just yards away from where the vigil took place.

A week after the shooting that also left gunman Jared Padgett dead, Reynolds School District held the candlelight vigil with the theme of hope and healing.

Alumni performers, faith leaders and school officials took the stage to offer a poem, songs, prayers and reflections.

“Although we are stricken with grief that two young lives with lots of promise were lost, this is a school and a community that will triumph over adversity,” said Superintendent Linda Florence.

Florence thanked the community for showing its strength and pride, expressing gratefulness for its outpouring of love, support and compassion.

Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust said he refused to let the shooting define Troutdale, while Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton commended students, faculty and parents for their strength of character.

Prayers, songs and a poem were weaved into the vigil before Principal Wade Bakley initiated the candle lighting.

Florence closed her remarks quoting the words of Robert Fulghum: “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Karri Miller, left, and her daughter Emiley Bradley hold candles at the candlelight vigil held Tuesday night at Reynolds High School. The community came to show their grief for the loss both students, the victim, Emilio Hoffman and the shooter, Jared Padgett.

A longer version of this story will run online Wednesday, June 18, and in Friday's edition of The Outlook.

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